John Buck refilling vacancies in Wacker Drive tower
Two new tenants will help fill newly unclaimed space
John Buck has found a new tenant for the soon-to-be-vacant space in his eponymous development firm’s Wacker Drive office tower.
After losing two big tenants in the tower at 155 North Wacker Drive, the Chicago-based developer has secured one new tenant, and is close to inking a lease with another, Crain’s reported. John Buck developed the 1.2 million-square-foot tower in 2009.
Insurer Ryan Specialty Group has leased about 40,000 square feet across two floors in the tower and will relocate its Chicago office from the 57,000-square-foot space it leases in the Two Prudential Plaza tower at 180 North Stetson Avenue. In addition, the testing, inspection and certification services division of Underwriters Laboratories is in talks to lease about 40,000 square feet in the Wacker Drive tower.
The leases would help John Buck fill the spaces left vacant when healthcare management consulting firm Vizient moved to the redeveloped Old Post Office building in 2021 and when the second-largest tenant, law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom announced plans to leave the 170,000-square-foot space in the tower for a smaller space in BMO Tower next to Union Station. John Buck developed the tower, completing it in 2009.
Ryan’s new lease marks a downsizing for the specialty insurance company, following the trend of companies reducing their office footprints and moving to new or redeveloped spaces.
For UL, the firm joins a wave of suburban-based companies opening offices in downtown Chicago to have better access to the young, urban talent. The company’s nonprofit affiliates last year leased 53,000 square feet of offices in downtown Evanston last year, and the firm is keeping its campus at 333 Pfingsten Road in suburban Northbrook, which has been its headquarters since the late 1970s and has lab and product testing capabilities.
“We’ve been happy in Northbrook for many years, but we’re out of space,” UL Research CEO Terrence Brady said at a November Evanston City Council meeting, the outlet Evanston RoundTable reported. He wants employees to be able to more easily get to offices without having to drive, prompting the downtown lease.
— Victoria Pruitt